Back in December 2014 we wrote about some research by the psychologists Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer that investigated the effect of using laptops for taking notes in classrooms.
The findings of the research are interesting, they found that students who handwrote their notes, rather than just typed them into a laptop, in the class learned and retained more information.
Their conclusion was that because handwriting notes was slower, this accelerated the learning process.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- Because you cannot handwrite every word that is being said in a lesson, you have to decide what notes to take. So you highlight what is important, make links/connections and note anything not really understood (questions). To do this we use critical thinking, engaging the brain with the material. However, if you touch type everything that is being said you do not have to engage or think about what you are typing.
- Handwriting notes take more effort, this effort is what helps you to commit the material to the memory.
- These findings are in line with research by other psychologists that state that handwriting engages different parts of the brain which typing doesn’t.
Yesterday I can across this article (http://on.inc.com/2nsDkKu) by Marla Tabaka (Jan 29 2018) which further highlighted the importance of handwritten notes. She writes about Richard Branson’s habit of always using his notebook in meeting and carrying it around with him. This enables him to jot down all the ideas that materialize in a meeting or just random thoughts, whether they are big and complex or small and simple. How often have you forgot what at the time seemed a brilliant idea if you didn’t write it down? It is usually the small ideas that can have the biggest impact.
Marla Tabaka Jan 29th 2018: Richard Branson Says You’ll Be More Successful if You Develop This Daily Habit: https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/richard-branson-wont-leave-home-without-this-productivity-tool-and-he-says-you-shouldnt-either.html
Mueller P. A., Oppenheimer D. M.: First Published April 23, 2014: The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking: Phycological Science; http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614524581